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Spectacular Subic

The largest Naval Base outside the USA before being transformed into a commercial free port, Subic, just 210 kilometers northwest of Manila is a destination of historical significance. It also promises a myrial of experiences, from majestic beaches with fascinating shipwrecks to a multitude of outdoor adventures.

The Aetas were the inhabitants of Subic before Spanish colonizers came. Their ancestral origin is traced to the foot of Mt. Pinatubo, a revered place they beleive to be the abode of a god named Apo Namalyari.

Soon afterward Juan de Salcedo, a Spanish conquistador discovered Subic in 1542. He reported that the area was a deep bay and was a strategic location as a port. There back then, called “Hubek,” which meant “head of the plow.” Historians say that Salcedo mispronounced it by calling it Subig, this was how its name began to come about.

The Spanish issued a Royal Decree by King Alfonso II declaring Subig as a naval port in 1884. Subig later became “Subiq” and the letter q, apparently of Spanish origin was transposed to c, this was most likely done to avoid mispronounciation by the Americans.

In 1899, the Americans included Subic Bay as one of the locations to be visited by patrolling gunboats. Commodore George Dewy of the Asiatic Squadron, who battled the Spnanish fleet in Manila declared Subic Bay as “having no equal in the Philippine Islands.”

US President Theodore Roosevelt designated Subic and 70,000 hectares of its neighboring land as an American military reservation in 1903. A year after, the Subic Naval Station was operational. It was largest US Marine Corps training facility outside the mainland United States. After the Philippine gained its independence from the Americans an agreement was signed granting the Americans use of the 16 military installations including Subic and Olongapo.

Today, Subic is not just a glimpse of the past, but is also a solace for travelers with a thirst for adventure and an exhilarating getaway for groups of all ages.

How to Get There

Subic is northwest of Manila. By land, one can take the bus or rent a car or van. Air-conditioned buses are dispatched every 30 minutes at bus terminals in Pasay, Caloocan, Manila and Cavite. If you are renting a car, take the expressway to San Fernando Exit and pass through Bacolor, Guagua, Lubao, Dinalupihan to Subic Bay Freeport Express.

Flying to Subic is also possible with both domestic and international flights. Just call Subic Bay International Airport for flight schedules. Ferry services are also available from Manila. Offices are located near the Cultural Center of the Philippines along Roxas Boulevard in Manila. A visitor’s pass will be issued by the sentry upon entering the Freeport.

How to Get Around

To get around, it is better to have your own vehicle for shuttles are seldom available.

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One Response to “Spectacular Subic”

  • Edwin Alcazar says:

    your article says “Juan de Salcedo, a Spanish Conquistador discovered Subic in 1542.”
    Juan de Salcedo was born in 1549; arrived in the Philippines with his brother Felipe in 1566. The year he explored regions north of Manila was 1572 and not 1542.

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